The CSULB Black Alumni Scholarship Fund, created by Dr. John Hamilton and the Black Faculty Staff Community provides a financial support system for students who need our help to achieving a quality education. As many of us know, situations arise with students that they are not prepared for and overwhelm them. Black students are more likely to come from low-income families and have less access to financial support. These challenges, together with feelings of exclusion and micro aggressions, make it hard to concentrate on their studies
The Black Alumni Scholarship fund would be there when a car breaks down, a job is lost, or a computer crashes. Additionally, the scholarship would help with summer classes, book grants, study abroad opportunities, conferences and other educational endeavors that students would be ineligible for solely because of financial limitations. Some staff members have personally helped students, understanding how unsupported and independent students can suddenly realize how hard it is to balance work and school. Quite a few of these students have turned to Dr. Hamilton for help. Though he has personally helped many, he wanted to create a fund to assist many more.
Retention of Black students is more than the many support programs that we have created; it’s also about building a family, a community of support. Dr. Hamilton’s vision is for the Black community and its allies to help provide support for our students. We want to provide gap assistance, mentorships and connections from within our community for students who suffer life challenges that occur during their educational journey. These scenarios are some of the less publicized challenges that create access and retention barriers for students to achieve a quality education.
The old Igbo and Yoruba African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child” has been a staple in the Black community. It means that an entire community of people must interact with our young people for them to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. Villagers help look out and support our children. It is how we survive and how we will thrive. To date, we have raised over $250,000. Please join our BFAS community and help us by investing in the future of our students.